Best Phone Carrier for the iPhone 2021
Pretty much every carrier you can think of is compatible with the latest iPhones. In fact, name some wireless provider you know, and I’ll bet you exactly zero dollars that it supports the iPhone. Go ahead. Did you guess Mint Mobile, Visible, and Verizon? Good job because those are four of the best carriers for an iPhone.
We looked at iPhone 11 (128 GB) phone plans from every provider to gauge the best phone carriers for the iPhone. But even if you’re still rocking the iPhone 8 and want to carry it over to a new cell phone plan, these carriers still offer the most bang for your buck. Here’s what the research showed for best iPhone providers:
|Mint Mobile||12 GB Plan||$59.94/mo.||16 GB of data||View Plan|
|Visible Wireless||$40 Unlimited Plan||$75.00/mo.||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Verizon||Start Unlimited Plan||$103.33/mo.||Unlimited||View Plan|
* For unlimited talk, unlimited text, monthly data allotment, and 24-month payment plan for iPhone 12 (64 GB)
Mint Mobile: Best value plan + phone combination
Brand new iPhone 12 and 16 GB of data for $59.94/mo.
- Affordable plan that includes phone and data
- Non-unlimited data plan
What we like
We compared every major cell phone provider and somehow, the underdog Mint Mobile managed to come out on top as the best value carrier for the iPhone. Mint Mobile is an up-and-coming mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses T-Mobile’s network and just so happens to offer an awesome deal that gets you a brand new iPhone 12 (64 GB) and 16 GB of data every month for just under $60 a month. You’ll have the phone paid off after two years of service.
To put that into perspective, the next best carrier is Ultra Mobile, which costs $62.54 a month and only gives you 6 GB of data every month. So in summary, Mint Mobile gives you more data for a cheaper price compared to the competition along with a brand new iPhone 12. Good job, Ryan Reynolds! (He owns Mint Mobile, randomly).
What we don’t like
Mint Mobile doesn’t offer an unlimited data plan currently, so this plan only makes sense for folks who won’t regularly drain data. So if you’re reading this article using your cellular data on your iPhone and you plan on streaming a YouTube video afterwards, you might have a hard time committing to 8 GB a month. You’re not alone, friend.
You can always upgrade your plan and double your monthly data to 16 GB with Mint Mobile if you’re willing to pay an extra $5 a month.
Visible Wireless: Best unlimited+phone combination
New iPhone 12 (64 GB) with unlimited data for $75/mo.
- Unlimited data
- Operates on Verizon's network
What we like
Your absolute best value option for an unlimited data plan that also nets you a brand new iPhone is Visible Wireless. Visible is kind of like the secret menu at In-N-Out–it’s one of the best things you can order and nobody really knows about it. Like Mint Mobile, Visible is an MVNO, except it just so happens to operate on Verizon’s best-in-class coverage.
All in all, you can get unlimited data, a brand new iPhone 12, get access to Verizon’s awesome network, and it will all cost you $75 a month. Remember, you can always lower your bill by opting for a cheaper iPhone. For example, if you wanted to go with the iPhone SE instead of the iPhone 11, you would bring your monthly bill down to $56 a month.
What we don’t like
The catch with MVNO cell phone providers is a little thing called deprioritization. Verizon’s network will give priority to its own customers in terms of its signal coverage. Usually, there’s plenty of coverage to go around for everybody, both Verizon users and Visible users alike, but if you’re in a really crowded area (a theme park, the mall, a baseball game, etc.), you may notice a sudden drop in your bars. That can happen because Verizon users in the area suck up most of the 4G or 5G juice, and you’re left with the scraps.
Verizon: Best network for iPhones
Verizon has the most reliable network coverage for iPhones
- Most reliable network in the country
What we like
If your top priority with your new iPhone is to get the best coverage money can buy, then Verizon is your carrier of choice. As it stands right now, these are the rankings for best wireless coverage in the country.1
- Verizon: 70% 4G cell phone coverage
- AT&T: 68% 4G cell phone coverage
- T-Mobile: 62% 4G cell phone coverage
Verizon takes first place amongst the networks, especially standing out when it comes to offering rural coverage. Check out the Verizon coverage map below to get an idea of how wide a net Verizon’s network covers.
What we don’t like
Sadly, all that awesome coverage comes at a literal price. While Verizon has the best network, it also generally has the most expensive prices. The Start Unlimited plan, for example, costs $101.24 a month for unlimited data and a new iPhone 11. Our old friends Visible Wireless offer the same package for $71 a month. The only difference is that your Verizon iPhone’s speeds and coverage won’t get throttled and deprioritized.
You can always bring your monthly bill down considerably by going with a less robust iPhone model. If you chose the iPhone SE (128 GB) instead of the iPhone 11 (128 GB), your Verizon bill drops by about $13 a month.
Recap: What are the best carriers for iPhone?
Basically every wireless carrier supports the iPhone, but very few carriers will actually give you a good deal. The providers we highlight here will give you value whether you go with a brand new iPhone 11, or you go with an older iPhone mode.
What are the best carriers for the iPhone?
- Best value plan + phone: The best bang for your buck you can get for a new iPhone and a decent data plan is with Mint Mobile. You can get a brand new iPhone 12 and 16 GB of data for a little under $60 a month.
- Best unlimited plan + phone: If you want unlimited data for your iPhone, your best overall option is the $40 Unlimited Plan with Visible. It’s one of the cheapest unlimited plans available that also offers strong coverage.
- Best network: Verizon offers the best network for iPhones. It covers 70% of the country with 4G coverage and is your best bet to get bars on your iPhone in rural areas
As it stands in 2021, Mint Mobile, Visible Wireless, and Verizon are your best carriers for iPhone. Let us know what option you ended up going with and how your experience has gone in the comments below.
Your iPhone depends on a reliable internet connection
If your wireless cell phone coverage feels spotty at home, improving your Wi-Fi will make a world of difference. This is especially true if you have multiple cell phone users under the same roof. Check out our top internet recommendations for a reliable Wi-Fi connection while you’re using your iPhone at home.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Data cap||Learn more|
|Xfinity Internet||$19.99–$84.99*||15–1000 Mbps||1–1.2 TB||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Internet||$49–$65†||15–940 Mbps||1 TB–Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$35–$60‡||100–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Viasat Internet||$30–$150^||12–100 Mbps||12–300 GB||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99–$79.99°||200–940 Mbps||Not Available||View Plans|